It’s official: Beleaguered electronics retailer RadioShack has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and will shutter up to 2,500 of its stores.
The Ft. Worth-based retailer filed for bankruptcy today and said it would sell between 1,500 and 2,400 of its storefronts to its largest investor, hedge fund Standard General. Standard General, in turn, will partner with Sprint, according to news reports.
RadioShack operates 4,000 stores across North America, which means the stores that aren’t sold to Standard General will be shut down. Rumors that Amazon might buy some of the stores remain unsubstantiated.
The news comes as no surprise, as talks of the impending sales and closure of stores began circulating. Some stores reported being told to begin transferring high-value inventory and liquidating the rest.
RadioShack is a 94-year-old retailer that has ridden numerous consumer technology fads to boom and bust over the decades. The store dabbled in electronics, high-fidelity radio, CB radios, and computers. It was one of the only places consumers could buy and activate cellular phones in that industry’s nascent days.
Despite being early on most technology trends, the store could never shake its kitschy feel and reputation. If getting a Sony Walkman was cool in the 1980s (yes, we know it debuted in 1979), a RadioShack-branded Realistic clone was the exact opposite.
Why this matters: RadioShack may never have defined cool, but over the decades it has been the reliable place to find that odd battery or diode you needed on Saturday at 2:30 p.m. With RadioShack’s quick fade into retailer history, consumers will have a harder time finding all things nerd.